10 common challenges in a CMS-Payment Switch Upgrade or Migration Project (Part I)!!

Many large banking organizations are opting for either upgrade or migration to newer platforms for their cards management system. This usually is accompanied by migration or upgrade of the payment switch too. Every project is unique in terms of their challenges. Yet a few factors remain constant between them.

The following are 10 challenges, that we can encounter in any CMS or a Payment Switch migration project:

  1. Defining Project scope: Availability of new features and functionalities is one of the significant driving factor behind any migration project. Moreover, the urge to accomplish multiple objectives in a single project is inescapable. Therefore, a switch migration project becomes an umbrella project for multiple sub projects such as product upgrades, launching digitization initiatives, implementing new additional customer service channels, launching new value-added services, etc.                                                                                                           Although these ideas look very appealing for quick ROI realization, addition of these sub projects always add more stakeholders, technical challenges and dependencies in an already complicated project. Delay in any dependent sub-project thus derails & delays the main project
  2. Determining Total Project cost: A Payment switch migration project is a complicated mesh of interdependent work streams, which requires involvement of multiple teams. Due to unavailability of detailed information for each workstream, most of the time Analogous estimating techniques are used to derive the project cost. As this technique is primarily dependent on reference from similar project and each project has its unique features, deriving the total cost of the project at the beginning of the project is very difficult. Hence, cost overrun becomes a common phenomenon in a migration or upgradation project.
  3. Stakeholder identification & Management: CMS system & Payment switch has multiple touch points within and outside a Bank.  Each touch point is a participant in this migration. In addition to this, multiple departments within a Bank are also linked to a Payment switch migration project due to its business-critical nature. Identifying all such stakeholders, understanding their requirement and defining their roles in a project is a huge challenge.                                                                                                                                                                            In some cases, the most important stakeholder “High power High Interest” gets ignored in the Migration plan. Customer convenience, customer habits and behavior can have a huge impact on the success of the project. So ensure the stakeholders are correctly identified.
  4. Integrated Project Plan : Integrated Project plan is an important deliverable for Project / Program manager. This plan should be created taking into consideration the plans presented by different teams and dependencies between different workstreams. However, the plans from different teams are very high-level plans, which don’t contain work package level details. Therefore, it becomes difficult for PM to determine dependencies between different deliverables and determine a critical path for the project.                         Furthermore, Absence of a detailed IPP restricts the ability of the project committee to understand the impact of any change in one workstream on other workstreams and overall project. Project sponsors / Committee have to often rely on experience and knowledge of PM to identify such impacts and take corrective measures proactively.
  5. Shared Resources Management:  Resources working on a CMS, Payment Switch upgrade, migration project (especially from Bank’s side) are often shared with other projects or production support activities.                     For example, the functional and technical Analysts from existing systems continue to support day to day activities in Live system along with the migration project tasks. Similarly, the resource for IT infrastructure setup must handle the current Live environment and at the same time support project for implementation of the new network structure. Same is the case with business users who struggle to complete review and sign-off process for business cases, test cases and test results because of the commitment to other day to day tasks. On the other hand, having dedicated resources for every activity will result in effort wastage as some resources are not going to be involved 100% throughout the project schedule.

Identifying and addressing these resource utilization issues early in the project is another challenge in a Payment Switch migration project. Project committee must play a central role here to resolve these conflicts and support the project team.

Stay Tuned for the Part 2 which will include the rest of the pain area for the banks in our next week Blog!!!

Debasis Mohanty

Debasis heads the delivery for all client engagements at Verinite. He has a long track record of delivering high quality, responsive, secure and cost-effective business and technology solutions in BFSI domain. Outside his work, he is an amateur animator, a sports enthusiast, a voracious reader and a Trivia buff.